Monday February 26, 2024

Senate body takes serious notice of vacant Pakistan chairs abroad

A total of 14 chairs had been vacant since 2008 and out of the 14

March 29, 2023
PTI members seen protesting against incarceration of Senator Azam Sawti while the Upper House approves Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Bill, 2022. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTV Parliament/file
PTI members seen protesting against incarceration of Senator Azam Sawti while the Upper House approves Foreign Investment (Promotion and Protection) Bill, 2022. — Screengrab/YouTube/PTV Parliament/file

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on Tuesday took serious notice of the matter of vacant Pakistan Chairs abroad under different nomenclatures such as the Quaid-i-Azam Chair and Allama Iqbal Chair, Chairs in Urdu and Pakistan Studies.

The Senate Standing Committee Chairman on Federal Education and Professional Training, Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqi, deeming the matter a criminal negligence, stressed the need for an in-depth probe into the matter, so that those responsible for this apathetic attitude could be taken to task.

The meeting of the Senate body was held under Chairman Senator Irfan Siddiqui and was attended by Senator Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, Senator Maulvi Faiz Muhammad, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and senior officers of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and HEC.

HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and newly-appointed Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University Dr Niaz Ahmed Akhtar were present as well.

The committee was informed that a total of 14 chairs had been vacant since 2008 and out of the 14, just six chairs were advertised due to budgetary constraints. The committee was informed that selection process was completed in 2021 wherein a panel of three scholars was selected for the Cambridge University.

The process was terminated by the university and the ministry was directed to re-advertise the position as per their set of procedures.

The committee was informed that chairs for Urdu and Pakistan Studies are currently vacant in China, Egypt, Germany, USA, UK, Turkey, Hong Kong, Iran, Jordan, Nepal and Kazakhstan.

The committee, while taking strong note of the issue, expressed concern over the issue and said that Pakistan has lost a golden opportunity to dissociate itself from terrorism and crime and enter the folds of international academia to introduce to the world feats accomplished in culture and literature. It stressed the need for stringent action against this negligence that has held back the softer side of the country.

Deliberating over the matter, Chairman Committee Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui directed that the ministry should submit a comprehensive report on the issue in the next meeting.

Discussing the recent clashes between student groups at the Quaid-i-Azam University in the light of the briefing by Dr Niaz Ahmed Akhtar, Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University, the committee stressed the need to investigate the matter in detail and ensure that the root cause was ascertained.

Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui welcomed the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University and assured him of the committee’s all out support.

Deeming the need for revival of student unions in universities, Irfanul Haq Siddiqui was of the view that grouping must be conducted related to interests and national heroes in place of ethnicity. This he said would play an important role in diffusing ethnic fault lines and infuse in students a sense of national unity.

Siddiqui directed Dr. Niaz Ahmed Akhtar to formulate a commission and submit a detailed report to the committee on the causes of the issue and recommendations of ways that it could be curbed. The need for construction of a boundary wall around the university campus was stressed by Dr Niaz Ahmed Akhtar to ensure security.

The committee recommended that a letter be sent to the CDA to submit its report regarding construction of a boundary wall.

Taking up the matter related to the appointment/posting of junior lady teachers in public schools in Islamabad, the committee condemning the delay in resolving the matter asserted that all out efforts must be made to regularise the teachers that fall in this category. It was recommended that the Ministry of Education should take up the issue once again and approach the cabinet to reconsider its previous decision, so that the matter is reviewed minutely on humanitarian grounds.

While considering the private member bills, the International Islamic University (IIU)(Amendment) Bill, 2023 was approved with minor amendments. The International Institute of Technology, Culture and Health Sciences Bill, 2022, introduced by Senator Kamran Murtaza and Senator Fawzia Arshad, was pended due to further probe into the matter.

A visit of the facility will be conducted by a three-member committee comprising Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed (Convener), Senator Fawzia Arshad and a senior member of HEC. A report regarding the matter will be submitted to the committee within 10 days.